Background

Background

Some 47.6 million or 30 percent of the total 158.5 million people in Bangladesh are young (10-24 years) and it will be between 10 and 19 present by 2050 signifying the needs to invest in the human capital of its young people now if it wants to reap the benefits of a large demographic dividend. Although Bangladesh has a favorable policy environment in terms of investing in young people, implementation of these policies and mechanisms to ensure the state’s accountability to implement these policies remain weak.

This is further exacerbated by the lack of opportunity for young people to participate in policy decisions that affect their lives resulting in Government framing strategies and policies that may not always reflect the realities of their lives. Part of the problem also lies in the lack of data on young people in certain areas such as sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) where the state only collects data on married girls and women leaving a data gap on the vast majority of unmarried young people and boys. The data that is collected reflects poor conditions of sexual and reproductive health situation and a high prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This is further exacerbated by prevalent gender inequality and the low value of girls (and women) in their homes and societies, rendering them voiceless as well as a deeply conservative society where talk of adolescent sexuality is taboo.